January 19, 2010

Engineering for Professionals offers new degree in info assurance

A new master of science degree in information assurance is now available through Johns Hopkins’ Engineering for Professionals, the part-time graduate program of the Whiting School of Engineering.

Information assurance refers to the protection of information systems against unauthorized access or modification of data while it is being stored, processed or transmitted. The term also applies to protection against system attacks, such as those that result in a denial of service to authorized users.

Engineering for Professionals’ new 10-course degree program was created to meet a surge in the demand for engineers and scientists with technical expertise in information assurance, also known as IA. “Information is one of our most highly valued assets as a nation,” said Tom Longstaff, vice chair of the IA program and a senior IA scientist at Johns Hopkins’ Applied Physics Laboratory. “The skills to analyze and assess the risk of threats to our information infrastructure in all aspects of our society and the ability to protect against those threats are of critical importance.”

The information assurance degree, one of the very few part-time master’s programs of its kind, is designed for those with undergraduate degrees in technical areas such as electrical engineering, computer science or mathematics. For students transitioning from other fields, the program offers undergraduate prerequisite courses to be taken as needed.

The EP program joins a full-time master of science degree in security informatics offered by the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute, along with IA concentrations in four other Whiting School programs.

EP’s information assurance program offers concentrations in both networks and systems. The networks area focuses on protecting information assets from network-based intrusions and remote exploitation of systems, and the systems area on protecting assets from within system boundaries, emphasizing platform, operating systems and secure software development. There are three required courses: Foundations of Algorithms, Principles of Information Assurance and Cryptology. The remaining courses can be drawn from a range of state-of-the-art topics, including computer forensics, intrusion detection, information assurance architectures, reverse engineering and World Wide Web security.

“The technical nature of the program gives students hands-on and deep fundamental knowledge of information assurance,” Longstaff said.

So far, student interest in the program has exceeded estimates.

Taking advantage of EP’s rolling admissions policy, students may begin the program in the fall, spring or summer semesters. A number of courses are also offered online.For more information, go to http://ep.jhu.edu/graduate-degree-programs/information-assurance.